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    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Transcript of Nightline's 'Obama Interview

    ABC News
    Full Transcript: Exclusive Obama Interview
    ABC News Anchor Terry Moran Talks to Sen. Barack Obama

    March 19, 2008 —

    The following is an unedited transcript of an interview between ABC News' Terry Moran and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Tuesday, after Obama's speech addressing the issue of race and his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in Philadelphia.

    TERRY MORAN: So what was your goal with this speech?

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: You know, what I wanted to do was provide context for not just the controversy that's swirled around my former pastor over the last couple of days, but for a shift in tone that we've been seeing in the campaign, both in the coverage and the comments of both my supporters, Sen. Clinton's.

    You could see race bubbling up in a way that was distracting from the issues that I think are so important to America right now. So what I wanted to do was to, rather than try to tamp it down, lift it up and see if maybe that would help clarify where we are as a nation right now on the issues.

    MORAN: Given your candidacy, race was bound to bubble up in this campaign at some point. So was this a speech that you always planned to give or knew you had to?

    OBAMA: I expected that at some stage we'd have to give it. Now, I'm not sure that we expected that it would come up in the way that it did. But it was unrealistic to anticipate that, during the course of this campaign, if not now then certainly in the general election, that this was not going to be an issue that had to be addressed.

    This is a big leap for the country. Even me being the nominee is a big leap and then, obviously, actually being the president is a big leap. And, you know, what I want to do is to make sure that we understand that my campaign is not premised on that, it's not premised on making history, but that, whoever is president, this is always going to be an ongoing issue that we have to struggle with and that, perhaps, I can lend some special insight into it.

    But it's nothing that's going to be unique to my presidency. It's been something that presidents throughout our history have or have not dealt with, but it's always been there.

    MORAN: Now, things are changing in this campaign. Race is emerging as an issue. In the Mississippi primary, you won 92 percent of the black vote, just 26 percent of the white vote. Given what's happening, do you feel this is a make-or-break moment for your candidacy?

    OBAMA: You know, I don't think it's a make-or-break moment. I mean, if you just look at the mathematics and the popular vote of the campaign, we're in a good place.

    But one of the things that I've always believed is that this campaign couldn't just be about me, my ambitions, winning a nomination, that the process itself had to reflect the changes I say I'm going to bring about when I'm president.

    And I do think this was a moment in the campaign where maybe I rediscovered a core truthfulness to the campaign that sometimes you lose during the course of campaigning. There were times before Texas and Ohio where you're there, and there are these big rallies, and people are yelling and screaming, and having a great time, and you are just -- you're giving your stump, and you've been giving it now for three months, and it becomes a performance, as opposed to really tapping into some of these essential challenges that the country faces in a meaningful and serious way.

    And I think this was an opportunity for me to pull back for a second and say, "OK, hold on a second. What is it that you're trying to accomplish? What are the conflicts and contradictions that are preventing us from solving health care or education or these other issues? And what do you really have to say about it? What is it that's specific to you that you have to contribute?"

    And so, in that sense, I think it was a good moment for our campaign.

    MORAN: Let's talk about Rev. Wright, your former pastor. Some of the things that Rev. Wright has said in those little clips that are making their way around, "God damn America," for example, blaming this country for 9/11, are so troubling, so hurtful to people that they ask legitimately, "What does it tell us about Barack Obama, about his judgment, that he was a member of this man's congregation?"

    How do you answer that?

    OBAMA: Well, as I said in the speech, this is somebody who'd preached for 30 years, probably three times on a Sunday and multiple times during the week, so we can do the math, but there are a lot of seconds there of talking.

    And essentially what's been created is a montage of some very offensive and disturbing language. And I don't excuse it at all; I've condemned it unequivocally.

    But the person I know is somebody who, for 20 or 30 years, has been leading one of the pillars of the African-American community on the south side of Chicago as a church of tremendous breadth and depth, its ministries on everything from HIV-AIDS to providing care for the poor to providing day-care services for the community.

    It is a member of the United Church of Christ, which is a 99 percent white denomination. And so the church gets visitors constantly from other UCC members. And if you talk to them, they would always tell you that this is a welcoming, diverse church.

    So, in that sense, it was a caricature. Now, what I also said was that Rev. Wright is somebody who, for all his good qualities, is somebody that I've had strong disagreements with for a very long time, but he's somebody who helped to introduce me to my Christian faith. He is somebody who married Michelle and I. He baptized our kids.

    He was on the brink of retirement during the course of this year when some of these very offensive comments came to light, which isn't to say that I hadn't heard him say controversial things before, things I didn't agree with before, but nothing that was so visceral and incendiary.

    And my point, I think, was that you don't disown certainly the church, but you don't even disown a man simply because he says something that you profoundly and deeply disagree with. At least I wasn't in -- that is not something that I would have been comfortable to do. What I can do is condemn the man -- condemn the words, but not condemn the man.

    MORAN: Well, let me press you on that. If I went to a church where white supremacy was preached, what would you think of me?

    OBAMA: Well, but, see, I disagree with you, though, Terry. That's not what's preached at Trinity. And that, I think, that is an easy equivalence that is not at all what is taking place there.

    If you look at the sermons, even the most offensive ones that are at issue, he is condemning white racism, as he defines it, but he is not condemning the white race. He is not suggesting that blacks are superior. What he's saying is, is that this -- that white racism is endemic in the society.

    Now, that's something that I disagree with and I said in this speech today. And it's reflective of, I think, an anger and bitterness that is part of the black community's experience. It is a legacy of our past that isn't going away anytime soon. But in each successive generation, it hopefully lessens its grip.

    And he has, in some ways, he has reason to be angry and bitter. I mean, here's somebody who grew up in the '50s and the '60s. He's gone through things that you and I never went through.

    And so I think what was revealing in this whole episode was the degree to which I think large portions of white America were shocked or surprised that a lot of black people are still really angry about slavery and Jim Crow and segregation and discrimination, absolutely.

    And I pointed out in the speech, that anger isn't necessarily healthy. In fact, often times it's self-destructive. More often, it is internalized in all kinds of ways. I mean, that's part of what we see in the inner city, where that anger and bitterness is turned inward, and kids shoot each other and take drugs and end up in jail sometimes.

    Sometimes it expresses itself outwardly in ways that are offensive to the larger community. You remember when, during the O.J. trial, there was a similar moment when the culture -- you know, black and white culture just had these completely opposite reactions and nobody understood it.

    And, by the way, I'm somebody who was pretty clear that O.J. was guilty. And I was ashamed for my own community to respond in that way, but I also understood what was taking place, which was that reaction had more to do with a sense that somehow the criminal justice system historically had been biased so profoundly that a defeat of that justice system was somehow a victory.

    Now, that is an example of how unproductive that anger is and how we have to get beyond it, but it's there. And so that's why I said during the speech, in some ways for me to completely disown Rev. Wright is for me to disown the African-American community, because he embodies all the contradictions.

    You know, this is why, during the course of this campaign, there have been moments where people say, "Well, I like Barack Obama, but not Al Sharpton. I like Colin Powell, but not Jesse. I like Oprah, but," you know, those of us who are African-American don't have that luxury.

    And so what I can do then is to say, "Here's what I believe. Here's what I think. Here's where I think America needs to go."

    MORAN: What do you mean you don't have the luxury?

    OBAMA: I don't have the luxury of separating myself out and being selective, in terms of what it means to be African-American in this society. It's a big, complex thing. It's not monolithic.

    MORAN: It seems to me that one of the things you were trying to do in this speech is say out loud, in public what we say in private within our different groups.

    OBAMA: Right, exactly. And hopefully, I accurately captured not just what blacks say privately, but of what whites say privately. And that's part of -- you know, one strength I do have is that I've got a foot in each camp, right? You know, since I'm half-white and was raised by a white mom and white grandparents, I have a little more insight into those white resentments, again that are also rooted in history, and some of which are legitimate.

    I mean, you think about the experience of whites in a place like Boston or Scranton, Pennsylvania, where, at time of economic stress and difficulty, suddenly blacks are moving in and kids are being bused, and there's some sense that the economic competition is being tilted unfairly because of affirmative action, right?

    And, you know, there's street crime, because the blacks may be of lower income. And so it feels like neighborhoods are being destroyed, and that anger builds up, and that resentment builds up.

    MORAN: And isn't that the nerve that Geraldine Ferraro touched&


    OBAMA: Absolutely. Absolutely. She's from Queens.

    MORAN: &she was interpreted as saying you're an affirmative action candidate.

    OBAMA: Right. Well, you know, you think about her generation and her background, coming from a neighborhood in New York that went through some of those same things. And I'm sure that that is part of what's in her mind. And it's a mistake then to simply tag it as racist. It's not -- that's not what's going on.

    There is somebody who is shaped by a series of experiences with race in this country. And those things we don't talk about and, as a consequence, they get -- they go underground, but there are strong subterranean currents, and they shape our politics very powerfully.

    MORAN: So this is a moment maybe where -- some people might put it this way: Do you consider yourself a black man or an American first?

    OBAMA: An American, absolutely.

    MORAN: Is there a difference between black patriotism and white patriotism?

    OBAMA: No, I don't think so. I mean, what I think is that the African-American community is much more familiar with some of the darker aspects of American life and American history and so is less -- here's a good way to describe it.

    You know, I think that they understand much less as a marching band playing John Philip Sousa and they understand America much more as a jazz composition, with blue notes. And I think those are different things.

    And so the African-American community can express great rage and anger about this country and love it all the same, in a way that probably is less familiar to white America.

    MORAN: And I suppose some people might ask, is that giving an excuse for the expression of anti-American sentiments, simply because they come from a black person?

    OBAMA: Well, it doesn't excuse it. It just describes a reality. And, look, I mean, I think it is very important -- and I tried to raise this in a speech -- for white America to understand that this anger is not based on nothing. The anger is based on slavery and Jim Crow and a history that continues to have powerful sway over our daily lives.

    And I know that one of the most difficult things about race in this country is that white America is much more likely to say, "That was in the past, so forget about it. Let it go."

    MORAN: They'll say, "I didn't do that."

    OBAMA: "I didn't do it."


    OBAMA: Exactly. "So why are we focused on that?" And black America is saying, "The violence that was committed then under Jim Crow now expresses itself or is tied to the street crime that I'm having to deal with in my neighborhood or in my own family. The destruction of my great-grandfather's farm back then is directly related to the financial troubles I'm having now."

    I mean, those connections are made in the black community. And so part of what we have to do is, on the one hand, the African-American community has to say to itself -- and this is our job -- it is to say that we can affirm and acknowledge that tragic history, but not be trapped by it, not be obsessed by it, not use this as an excuse or a crutch for our responsibilities in moving ourselves forward as a community, and individuals taking responsibility for their own success, and walking through the doors of opportunity that have been busted open for us.

    On the other hand, white America, I think, has to take the time to say, "You know what? That history is powerful and painful. And I understand that, because of that history, there remain profound inequalities in this country and we as a country have an obligation to deal with them. It's not just something that we can shove aside or sweep under the rug."

    And if those two transformations in attitudes could take place, we're still going to have conflicts, there are still going to be differences, but we can make progress.

    MORAN: Do you really think you can do this, that your candidacy can help to change the racial dialogue, the way we deal with race?

    OBAMA: Well, I was very clear in the campaign -- you know, I've never been so naive as to think that one election cycle or, as I put it, my candidacy, as imperfect as it is, could somehow change entirely 300 years of history.

    I think, instead, this campaign offers an opportunity for America to think about some of these issues and engage them in a more honest way. But that's just one of the opportunities.

    I mean, hopefully, what I'm trying to do in this campaign is to do the same thing that maybe I was able to do about race, to talk about the economy or talk about our foreign policy or talk about our obligations to each other with that same sense of a complex truth, you know, not simplifying things, not sound-biting things, seeing if we can dig, scratch a little deeper.

    MORAN: There's a political risk for you here, though, isn't there? By embracing race, you might become the race candidate. And that's a limiting&

    OBAMA: Absolutely. And so, you know, hopefully this is something that we have talked about, we've lifted up, it will spur discussion, like Robert Kennedy's wonderful metaphor, "ripples of hope." You know, you throw a rock into a pond and those ripples will go out.

    We don't know where those ripples will go. I have no idea how this plays out politically. But I think it was important to do. And in a couple of days, I'll be talking about Iraq and national security, back on the trail.

    MORAN: One more. You mentioned your wife, Michelle's, heritage in this speech. What kind of advice has she given you on these matters?

    OBAMA: You know, Michelle and most of my black friends I think were much more confident and calm about me giving this speech. My white friends and advisers were much more nervous.

    MORAN: Why? What's the difference?

    OBAMA: I think that -- you know, the African-American community deals with this, grapples with this in ways that the white community just doesn't. I mean, I think this makes the larger society nervous and it's easier to disengage from it. I think there are a lot of African-Americans who would love to be able to not worry about race, but somehow it encroaches upon them.

    You know, it's the classic example -- and this is a common experience. I think most African-Americans will share it. If there is some horrendous crime out there, black people are always a little nervous until they see the picture, hoping that it's not a black person who committed it.

    A white person never thinks that way, because you, Terry Moran, would never assume that if there is some white male who fits your description who, you know, went on a rampage that somehow people are going to think of you differently. Black people, they worry about that.

    So that's an example of how those realities are different and it means that the African-American community views these things in a different way and feels as if talking about it is important.

    MORAN: Thank you.

    OBAMA: Thanks.

    Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

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    Reuters - Obama belittles McCain for confusing extremists

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    Obama belittles McCain for confusing extremists

    Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 7:50PM UTC

    By Caren Bohan

    FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama belittled Republican John McCain on Wednesday for misidentifying Iraqi extremists, saying he fails to understand the war has emboldened U.S. enemies.

    On the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Democrats Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton both pledged to withdraw U.S. troops speedily from Iraq if either of them is elected in November, while McCain held firm to his position that a troop build-up was paying off and should be maintained.

    At the same time, Clinton responded to charges that she is overly secretive by allowing the release of more than 11,000 pages of her daily schedule from 1993-2001 when she was U.S. first lady to President Bill Clinton.

    The release was also intended to promote her argument that she gained valuable White House experience during her years as first lady.

    The documents provided information on many of the events and meetings she attended. Absent was any detail on what was discussed.

    "They are a guide, and of course cannot reflect all of Senator Clinton's activities as first lady," the Clinton campaign said.

    McCain, the 71-year-old Arizona senator who touts his national security experience as a main reason why he should be elected, gave Democrats a line of attack to use against him on Tuesday.

    On a Middle East and Europe swing, he got tangled up in stating which Islamic extremist group in Iraq that Iran is accused of supporting.

    At a news conference in Amman, McCain said Iran supported the Sunni group al Qaeda in Iraq, until he was corrected by a colleague. U.S. officials believe Iran has been backing Shi'ite extremists in Iraq, not a Sunni group like al Qaeda.

    It was the first stumble of note that McCain has made since clinching the Republican presidential nomination early this month.

    "Just yesterday, we heard Senator McCain confuse Sunni and Shi'ite, Iran and al Qaeda," Obama said.

    "Maybe that is why he voted to go to war with a country that had no al Qaeda ties. Maybe that is why he completely fails to understand that the war in Iraq has done more to embolden America's enemies than any strategic choice that we have made in decades," the Illinois senator said.

    He also mocked McCain's oft-stated vow to follow Osama bin Laden to "the gates of hell" if elected, arguing the U.S. focus should have been on Afghanistan and Pakistan instead of Iraq.

    "We have a security gap when candidates say they will follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell but refuse to follow him where he actually goes," Obama said.

    On a visit to Detroit, Clinton reiterated her position that the United States could start withdrawing troops within 60 days of her taking office, and she said it was up to the Iraqis to take responsibility for their country's future.

    "We cannot win their civil war. There is no military solution," she said at a quickly arranged stop to push for a repeat of Michigan's presidential nominating contest, which had been disqualified because it violated party rules.

    McCain, who strongly supported President George W. Bush's troop increase a year ago, said in a statement the United States and its allies "stand on the precipice of winning a major victory against radical Islamic extremism."

    "The security gains over the past year have been dramatic and undeniable.

    And this time, he got the extremist identification correct.

    "Al Qaeda and Shi'ite extremists -- with support from external powers such as Iran -- are on the run but not defeated," he said.

    (Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Andy Sullivan, writing by Steve Holland, editing by David Wiessler)

    (To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at

    USA TODAY - 9 dead, 4 missing in central USA floods

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    By Betsy Taylor, Associated Press Writer

    Flooding forced hundreds of people to flee their homes and closed scores of roads Wednesday across the nation's midsection as a storm system poured as much as a foot of rain on the region. Nine deaths were linked to the weather and four people were missing.

    The National Weather Service posted flood and flash flood warnings from Texas to Pennsylvania on Wednesday, and evacuations were underway in parts of Missouri, Arkansas and Ohio.

    Heavy rain began falling Monday and just kept coming. A foot of rain had fallen at Mountain Home, Ark., and at Cape Girardeau in southeast Missouri, where officials said street flooding marooned some residents in their homes. The weather service said 6.2 inches had fallen at Evansville, Ind.

    LOCAL COVERAGE: Springfield (Mo.) News-LeaderWEATHER GUYS: Never underestimate the power of fast-moving water

    Scott and Marilyne Peterson and their son, Scott Jr., scurried out of their home near Piedmont after seeing water rise 3 feet in five minutes. They had just enough time to grab essentials and their dog.

    "You didn't have time to worry," Scott Peterson Sr. said. "You just grab what you can and go and you're glad the people are OK."

    The rain in Missouri was expected to finally end by late Wednesday as the weather system crawled toward the northeast.

    Four deaths were linked to the flooding in Missouri, and five people were killed in a highway wreck in heavy rain in Kentucky. Searches were underway in Texas for a teenager washed down a drainage pipe and in Missouri for a man missing in a creek, and two people were missing in Arkansas after their vehicles were swept away by rushing water.

    An estimated 300 houses and businesses were flooded in Piedmont, a town of 2,000 residents on McKenzie Creek. Dozens of people were rescued by boat.

    Outside St. Louis, the Meramec River was expected to crest 10 to 15 feet above flood stage at some spots, threatening towns like Eureka and Valley Park, where residents were urged to evacuate. The Missouri River was at or near flood stage through much of central and eastern Missouri.

    The James River was approaching record levels of more than 33 feet above normal at the small Ozarks town of Galena west of Branson, flooding a commercial strip and numerous homes near the town, Stone County emergency management chief Tom Martin said. The canoeing and fishing center of about 450 residents sits mainly on a hill above the river.

    Flooding was widespread in Arkansas, washing out some highways and leading to evacuations of residents in parts of Baxter, Madison, Sharp counties, said Tommy Jackson, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. The Highway and Transportation Department reported state roads blocked in 16 counties.

    The Spring River in northeast Arkansas rose at a rate of 6 inches per hour, carrying debris that included full-size trees.

    Two motorists were missing in Arkansas after their vehicles were washed away by high water, authorities said.

    Authorities in southwest Missouri were searching for another man reported swept away by rushing water. "He was going down the creek screaming and hollering," Lawrence County emergency management chief Mike Rowe said.

    Emergency officials in Mesquite, Texas, searched for a 14-year-old boy apparently swept away as he and a friend played in a creek. The friend swam to safety, authorities said.

    Up the Ohio Valley, widespread flooding was reported in parts of southwest Indiana and parts of Ohio, and schools were closed in parts of western Kentucky because of flooded roads.

    "We've got water rising everywhere," said Jeff Korb, president of the Vanderbugh County, Ind., commissioners. "We've got more than 70 roads under water."

    Residents of South Lebanon, Ohio a town of about 2,800 people were urged to get out as the Little Miami River was expected to crest at 28 feet, 11 feet above flood stage and the third highest level since measurements began in 1889, said Frank Young, emergency management director in Warren County.

    "That would put half of South Lebanon under water," Young said.

    Key roads were closed in the Cincinnati area, where water 4 feet deep was reported in businesses in the suburb of Sharonwille, police said. Police contacted at least nine businesses and warned them not to open Wednesday. Northeast of Cincinnati, two members of a cross-country team had to be rescued from a rain-swollen creek after falling in.

    The Ohio River at Cincinnati was expected to rise about 2 feet above flood stage by Friday, enough to flood some neighborhoods outside the city.

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    USA TODAY - New features coming for Blu-ray DVD format

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    By Marc Saltzman, Special for USA TODAY

    The high-definition-video war may be over now that Toshiba has conceded defeat for its ailing HD DVD format, but those interested in buying a high-def Blu-ray player still might want to wait for new features coming in the fall.

    Sure, existing Blu-ray machines can play the nearly 500 Blu-ray discs available. They can deliver gorgeous, top-of-the-line 1080p resolution on compatible high-def televisions. But the next crop of Blu-ray players will be compliant with the upcoming Profile 2.0 standard, which adds Internet connectivity to the machines via a feature called BD-Live.

    "Imagine being able to download high-definition trailers to current theatrical releases right to your TV, or selecting additional language tracks or other online bonus materials," says Josh Martin, a senior analyst at consulting firm Yankee Group.

    Depending on the disc, BD-Live will also let people chat in real time during films, type in their mobile phone numbers for free movie-related ring tones, play online multiplayer games or upload custom-made audio commentary.

    Sony (SNE) has announced two upcoming Blu-ray machines with Profile 2.0 support: the BDP-S350, available this summer for $399, which can be updated to the latest profile over the Internet when it's available; and the BDP-S550 ($499), which will ship with Profile 2.0 in the fall.

    "Technology always evolves, and new features are added to platforms continually, whether it's a Blu-ray machine or other consumer electronics products," says Chris Fawcett, vice president of home video at Sony Electronics.

    The new Sony players will include extras such as built-in or expandable memory and multiple audio technologies, including Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio or DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, depending on the model.

    The Sony PlayStation 3 ($399) video game system, which also has Blu-ray playback functionality, offers a future-proof solution. Sony says the Internet-connected console can download an update for the Profile 2.0 standard.

    For now, the most up-to-date Blu-ray players offer picture-in-picture functionality, also known as BonusView. That allows simultaneous video and audio streams so that you could, for instance, have a small window with video commentary while watching the feature film. Unlike regular DVD players, Blu-ray machines also let viewers turn on some bonus features, such as director commentary, with one button on the remote, as opposed to leaving the film to visit the disc's main menu.

    Not for everyone

    Many people who decide to wait to buy a BD-Live-capable Blu-ray machine probably won't even use that feature, notes Martin. "These upcoming players aren't for everyone, especially for those who just want to watch the movie," he says.

    The BD-Live players connect to the Internet via an ethernet plug in the back of the unit. But "not everyone has a broadband connection in their family room," notes Sandra Benedetto, spokeswoman for the Blu-ray Disc Association trade group.

    Will BD-Live-enhanced discs work with current-generation Blu-ray players? Generally, yes, Benedetto says. "The BD-Live feature just won't be available."

    The death of HD DVD will not mean automatic victory for Blu-ray, says Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director at JupiterResearch, the New York-based IT research firm. "With high-quality and cheap 'upscaling' DVD players at one end and HD downloads more common, the Blu-ray folks will need to work hard to win the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers to adopt."

    All kinds of features

    Consumers who purchase the newer Blu-ray machines should keep in mind that the Blu-ray discs themselves must also support advanced features such as BD-Live and BonusView.

    Lionsgate's horror sequel Saw IV is heralded as the first BD-Live-ready Blu-ray disc. It contains an interactive feature called MoLog (short for movie blog), where viewers can share their own audio or video content or join an online discussion using an onscreen keyboard. While the disc came out in January, the online BD-Live features will have to wait until the Profile 2.0 standard is here.

    Fox's Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, available on Blu-ray April 15, will include a BonusView picture-in-picture reference guide called Weyland-Yutani Archives, letting viewers hack into the movie-based corporation's secret computer to read about "all things Alien and Predator," says Fox. The franchise's first BD-Live content won't be available until later this year when Fox reissues the original Alien vs. Predator on Blu-ray with a multiplayer online game called Alien vs. Predator vs. You, demonstrated at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

    Disney's first BD-Live title will be a Blu-ray Platinum Edition of Sleeping Beauty, scheduled for October release.

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    USA TODAY - Harvard study: Nice guys actually finish first

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    By Seth Borenstein, Associated Press

    Screaming sports coaches and cutthroat tycoons have it wrong: Nice guys do finish first, a new study suggests.

    The Harvard University study involved 100 Boston-area college students playing the same game over and over a punishment-heavy version of the classic one-on-one brinksmanship game of prisoner's dilemma. The research appears in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature.

    Common game theory has held that punishment makes two equals cooperate. But when people compete in repeated games, punishment fails to deliver, said study author Martin Nowak. He is director of the evolutionary dynamics lab at Harvard where the study was conducted.

    "On the individual level, we find that those who use punishments are the losers," Nowak said his experiments found.

    Those who escalate the conflict very often wound up doomed.

    "It's a very positive message," said study co-author David Rand, a Harvard biology graduate student researcher. "In general, the thing that is most, sort of, rational and best for your own self-interest is to be nice."

    The study looked at games between equals. Punishment does seem to have a place in games when one player is dominant and needs to enforce submission, Nowak said.

    In Nowak's experiment, the students played more than 8,000 games of prisoner's dilemma, using dimes to reward and punish. The normal game of prisoner's dilemma gives two players two options: cooperate or defect. If both cooperate, each ends up winning a dime. If both defect, each gets nothing. If one cooperates and the other defects, the cooperative player loses 20 cents and the defector wins 30 cents.

    Nowak then added a "costly punishment" component. A player could choose to punish someone who didn't cooperate. That penalized the non-cooperative person 40 cents, but the other player had to pay a dime to mete out the punishment.

    When Nowak compared how much money people earned or lost in the long run, there was a noticeable correlation between punishment and overall money. The players who punished their opponents the least, or not at all, made the most money.

    Those who punished the most made the least money.

    When faced with a nasty opponent, turning the other cheek and continuing to cooperate or at least not handing out punishment paid off more in the long run, the study found.

    The paper makes sense and is interesting in its look at repeated interaction, said University of Central Florida economics professor Elisabet Rutstrom, who works on game theory but was not part of the Harvard study.

    Nowak said he next wants to study chief executives to see if the findings play out in the real world.

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    USA TODAY - The talented Mr. Minghella: Late director crafted ambitious epics

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    By Mike Clark, USA TODAY

    Sandwiched between modest projects that became only cult items at best, Anthony Minghella crafted three of the most ambitious and keenly bankrolled movies of the past dozen years. As a result, he had a surprising career, as surprising as his death at age 54 Tuesday.

    Minghella's publicist, Jonathan Rutter, said the filmmaker died at London's Charing Cross Hospital of a hemorrhage following surgery. Minghella was operated on last week for a growth in his neck, "and the operation seemed to have gone well. At 5 a.m. today he had a fatal hemorrhage," Rutter said.

    The British writer/director found success when 1996's The English Patient won nine Oscars. He followed with The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain.

    All were movies of a dying breed: big, grown-up subjects, dreamy budgets, easy-on-the-eye production values, long running times and the kind of performances that spark "for your consideration" trade ads. Juliette Binoche and Renee Zellweger won Oscars under Minghella's direction with additional nominations going to Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Jude Law (twice).

    He also was a theatrical and TV director who staged Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the English National Opera in London.

    Minghella first attracted international attention with his first big-screen effort, a 1990 telepic that springboarded into theaters. The ghostly romance Truly Madly Deeply, with Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson, picked up a small loyal following that eluded his next effort, which he did not write. Mr. Wonderful (1993) did not have a premise to portend Patient or even Minghella's future tenure as director of the British Film Institute.

    In 2007, Minghella came out with the indifferently received Breaking and Entering, which reunited him with Law and Binoche while adding Robin Wright Penn.

    He recently completed the TV movie The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency for BBC and was set for an anthology film with a self-revealing title: New York, I Love You.

    Ultimately, Minghella will be remembered for his Big Three, all available on DVD.

    The English Patient (1996, Miramax, $20). By taking on Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize winner, Minghella and producer Saul Zaentz defied the odds by turning what some called an unfilmable novel into an aerobic workout for the tear ducts. Dual settings span the Sahara Desert and a Tuscan monastery, the latter a wartime vantage point from which a horribly disfigured ex-geographer (Ralph Fiennes) recalls his passionate, sand-swept 1938 romance with a married aristocrat (Kristin Scott Thomas). As his attending nurse, Juliette Binoche took a supporting Oscar, one of nine the film won, including best picture and director.

    The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999, Paramount, $10). Beautiful Italian coastal settings, a beautiful '50s jazz-club decade in all its Bird/Dizzy/Chet Baker splendor and, yes, beautiful people until suicide, murder, forgery and concealment enter into what never ceases to be one of '90s' cinema's most physically pretty pictures. Previously filmed as France's 1960 Alain Delon classic Purple Noon, Patricia Highsmith's novel got a slightly different screen take as Minghella emphasized different aspects of a conniver's story and added a role for Cate Blanchett. Matt Damon is the central poor-boy opportunist who only gradually becomes transparent to his victims. Co-stars: Oscar-nominated Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is stealing scenes even then.

    Cold Mountain (2003, Miramax, $15). In the episodic epic of novelist Charles Frazier's acclaimed best seller, Minghella cut between two stories of equal weight to become one of the few Civil War movies giving full weight to the home front and the soldier's plight. Oscar-nominated Law is the plot-central wounded, battle-weary Confederate who escapes from a hospital and begins a long trek home to his North Carolina belle (Nicole Kidman). Oscar winner Zellweger, going rustic, headed a great supporting cast (Brendan Gleeson, Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman). And Dante Ferretti's production design is almost beyond top-of-the-line.

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    Australian tourist micheal smith

    I saw it all

    CNN - Tourist video shows riot, flames in Tibetan capital

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    Tourist video shows riot, flames in Tibetan capital

    Australian tourist Michael Smith says he was eating lunch in a restaurant in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, on Friday when he heard an explosion and saw smoke.

    As armored vehicles and trucks carrying Chinese soldiers rushed past, Smith started videotaping.

    "We're standing here in the middle of Lhasa and the place has just [expletive] exploded," Smith narrated during the rioting.

    Smith, who was traveling in Tibet when anti-Chinese rioting broke out Friday, returned home this week with dramatic video of the violence in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, which aired on Australian TV on Wednesday. Watch Smith's video of chaos in streets

    Tibetan exile groups maintain at least 80 people were killed by Chinese security forces that day, but Chinese authorities insist they acted with restraint and killed no one. Instead, China says 13 "innocent people" were killed, some brutally burned, by the Tibetan rioters.

    No apparent deaths or injuries were seen on the video, which Smith shared with Australia's ABC News, a CNN affiliate.

    The video shows Tibetans smashing windows and setting fire to Chinese shops and cars, while people are heard cheering. It also shows Chinese security forces, but no clashes between them and the rioters.

    "It's absolute mayhem on the streets," Smith said.

    Other video released of the rioting was broadcast by the Chinese government's CCTV, and it did not include pictures of Chinese security forces.

    Smith said as he made his way back to his hotel on Friday, he "met so many Tibetan people on the streets, so many young Tibetan boys just screaming for Tibet's freedom."

    "We don't have any freedoms," one young Tibetan male shouted to Smith's camera.

    "The Tibetan people are going crazy," Smith said. See protests around the world over Tibet

    Many of the businesses targeted by the rioters were operated by Han Chinese, China's largest ethnic group. The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, has blamed the violent protests on deep resentment fueled by Chinese treatment of Tibetans as "second-class citizens in their own land."

    Tibetan activists said an influx of Han Chinese from other provinces is threatening their ancient culture.

    While many of these "Free Tibet" activists demand independence from China, the Dalai Lama said he wants only "genuine autonomy" so that Tibetans can preserve their heritage. Watch Tibetans on horseback storm a Chinese town

    Meanwhile, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday that more than 100 people surrendered themselves to police and admitted involvement in the clashes last week in Lhasa.

    Tibet's regional government said 105 people had turned themselves in to authorities by 11 p.m. Tuesday (1:15 p.m. ET), Xinhua said.

    Authorities had urged those who participated in the protests to turn themselves in, offering them leniency if they did.

    "Those who surrender and provide information on other lawbreakers will be exempt from punishment," Xinhua quoted a police notice as saying.

    Gov paterson 'the blind pimp'


    Sen obama

    Where did everybody go?

    Reuters - Obama's lead over Clinton narrows: Reuters poll

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    Obama's lead over Clinton narrows: Reuters poll

    Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 4:16PM UTC

    By Steve Holland

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama's big national lead over Hillary Clinton has all but evaporated in the U.S. presidential race, and both Democrats trail Republican John McCain, according a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

    The poll showed Obama had only a statistically insignificant lead of 47 percent to 44 percent over Clinton, down sharply from a 14 point edge he held over her in February when he was riding the tide of 10 straight victories.

    Illinois Sen. Obama, who would be America's first black president, has been buffeted by attacks in recent weeks from New York Sen. Clinton over his fitness to serve as commander-in-chief and by a tempest over racially charged sermons given by his Chicago preacher.

    The poll showed Arizona Sen. McCain, who has clinched the Republican presidential nomination, is benefiting from the lengthy campaign battle between Obama and Clinton, who are now battling to win Pennsylvania on April 22.

    McCain leads 46 percent to 40 percent in a hypothetical matchup against Obama in the November presidential election, according to the poll.

    That is a sharp turnaround from the Reuters/Zogby poll from last month, which showed in a head-to-head matchup that Obama would beat McCain 47 percent to 40 percent.

    "The last couple of weeks have taken a toll on Obama and in a general election match-up, on both Democrats," said pollster John Zogby.

    Matched up against Clinton, McCain leads 48 percent to 40 percent, narrower than his 50 to 38 percent advantage over her in February.

    "It's not surprising to me that McCain's on top because there is disarray and confusion on the Democratic side," Zogby said

    Obama gave a speech on Tuesday rebuking his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for sermons sometimes laced with inflammatory tirades but said he could not disown him and it was time for Americans to bind the country's racial wounds.

    The poll showed Obama continues to have strong support from the African-American community but that he is experiencing some slippage among moderates and independents.

    Among independents, McCain led for the first time in the poll, 46 percent to 36 percent over Obama.

    He was behind McCain by 21 percent among white voters.

    Zogby attributed this to a combination of the fallout from Clinton's victory in Ohio earlier this month and the controversy over Wright's sermons.

    "And, just the closer he gets to the nomination, the tougher questions whites ask about an African-American candidate," Zogby said.

    The March 13-14 poll surveyed 525 likely Democratic primary voters for the matchup between Clinton and Obama. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

    For the matchup between McCain and his Democratic rivals, 1004 likely voters were surveyed. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

    (To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at

    (Editing by Todd Eastham)



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    Wut r u lukin at?

    Reuters - "Indiana Jones" trailer runs on widget power

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    "Indiana Jones" trailer runs on widget power

    Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 8:11AM UTC

    By Gail Schiller

    NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - When a second trailer for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" premieres online this week, it should spread as fast as the first, thanks to a widget.

    Paramount is counting on the small, portable applications that can be posted on blogs and social networks to maximize the exposure for its trailers. The first "Skull" trailer, released in February, has racked up millions of views.

    Paramount turned to widget provider Clearspring for "Skull," and will offer a contest with the release of the second trailer. The two fans who manage to distribute their "Skull" widgets most will win trips to the world premiere of the movie and the chance to be red-carpet correspondents in footage that will be streamed onto the "Skull" widgets after the premiere.

    "I think the reason that studios are excited about widgets is that word-of-mouth and buzz is what Hollywood is after all the time," said Peggy Fry, senior vice president of sales and client services at Clearspring. "If you think about it, what a widget is, it's a digital version of word-of-mouth."

    Clearspring also is creating widgets for Paramount's Mike Myers comedy "The Love Guru," which will include exclusive viral videos of Myers in character. The widgets, which launched Monday, will live on Myers' Guru Pitka MySpace page, where his character will blog about love advice, as well as on Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites.

    Every week Paramount will add a new viral video to the widget, for a total of eight to 10 videos. The widgets will include other exclusive content, including a "Love Guru" trailer, clips and behind-the-scenes footage.

    Paramount's first foray into widgets with Clearspring was with "Cloverfield," which benefited at the box office from a successful online and widget campaign. The studio also has worked with Clearspring on a "Bee Movie" widget and a daily fortune cookie widget for DreamWorks Animation's upcoming "Kung Fu Panda."

    Other studios that have worked with Clearspring to promote their movies are Warner Bros., for "10,000 BC" and "Fred Claus," Sony for "Superbad," Universal for its upcoming "Leatherheads" and Fox for "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!"

    Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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    We are rich

    Reuters - Big wireless auction ends, winners still secret

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    Big wireless auction ends, winners still secret

    Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008 7:40AM UTC

    By Peter Kaplan

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. government auction of wireless airwaves ended on Tuesday raising a record $19.59 billion, but winners of the valuable spectrum were not immediately identified.

    Analysts view Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc <VZ.N> and Vodafone Group Plc <VOD.L>, as the most likely winner of a nationwide piece of the airwaves called the "C" block that attracted a $4.74 billion high bid.

    "This is spectrum that's obviously ... very valuable -- will be critical to trying to provide additional wireless broadband services," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin told reporters after the auction ended.

    The C block spectrum includes a requirement sought by Internet leader Google Inc <GOOG.O> that would make it accessible to any device or software application.

    The winners of the hundreds of licenses were expected to be announced within days. Martin said the announcement would come after the FCC's four other commissioners approved an order he said is needed to formally end the auction.

    The 700-megahertz spectrum is being returned by television broadcasters as they move to digital from analog signals in early 2009. The signals are valuable because they can go long distances and penetrate thick walls.

    Potential winners in the auction, that began January 24 and went through 260 rounds of bidding, also include entrenched carriers like AT&T Inc <T.N> and possibly new competitors like Google, EchoStar Communications Corp <DISH.O> and Cablevision Systems Corp <CVC.N>.

    Under rules set by the FCC, bidders' identities have been kept secret during the auction.

    The order Martin has proposed to end the auction would "de-link" the one block of airwaves that did not meet its minimum bid requirement -- the "D" block -- from the rest of the spectrum.

    Under FCC rules, the winner of the D block would have had to give police, firefighters and other public safety groups priority use during an emergency.

    The FCC could decide to re-auction the D-block airwaves and possibly modify the rules and the minimum price to make it more attractive to potential bidders. FCC officials have declined to comment specifically on what they will do.

    (Reporting by Peter Kaplan; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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    CNN - Pennsylvania's Murtha endorses Clinton for president

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    Pennsylvania's Murtha endorses Clinton for president

    Rep. John Murtha, a former Marine and Vietnam War veteran who has become one of Congress' most outspoken critics of the Iraq war, on Tuesday endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, saying she is "the candidate that will forge a consensus on health care, education, the economy and the war in Iraq."

    "In 10 months, President Bush will leave office," said Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, in a written statement. "Our country is worse off today than when he took office over seven years ago."

    He said he has known Clinton, D-New York, for 15 years and that "she continually reaches out for opinions and ideas, not just from our nation's leaders, but from all Americans."

    "This week, she highlighted the policy failures in Iraq and addressed the real challenges we face in regards to rebuilding our military, restoring our readiness and fully preparing our armed forces to meet and deter future threats," Murtha said. "I know that Senator Clinton has a similar position that I have in regards to the war in Iraq. Her experience and careful consideration of these issues convinced me that she is best qualified to lead our nation and to bring credibility back to the White House."

    Murtha recently told Congressional Quarterly that he and fellow Pennsylvania Democrats Rep. Mike Doyle and Rep. Robert Brady would vote as a bloc in the presidential election. Also, several elected officials close to Murtha had held off making their own endorsements pending his decision.

    Murtha, 75, initially supported the Iraq war, although he criticized the Bush administration's handling of it and supported fellow Democratic Sen. John Kerry for president in 2004. He completed the about-face in November 2005 when he called for the immediate redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq, saying, "U.S. and coalition troops have done all they can ... it's time for a change in direction." He was the first of senior lawmakers to call for an immediate withdrawal.

    Vicki van meter dead at 26

    What me worry?

    CNN - Record-setting pilot dies at 26

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    Record-setting pilot dies at 26

    Vicki Van Meter, who made headlines in the 1990s for piloting a plane across the United States at age 11 and from the U.S. to Europe at age 12, died in an apparent suicide. She was 26.

    Van Meter died Saturday of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Crawford County coroner said. Her body was found in her Meadville, Pennsylvania, home on Sunday.

    Her brother said she battled depression, but her family thought she had been dealing with her problems.

    "She was unhappy, but it was hard for her to open up about that, and we all thought that she was coping," Daniel Van Meter said. He said she had opposed taking medication.

    Van Meter was celebrated in 1993 and 1994 when she made her cross-country and trans-Atlantic flights accompanied by only a flight instructor. Her instructors said she was at the controls during the entirety of both trips.

    "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything," Van Meter said before her second trip. In her teens, she said she hoped to become an astronaut when she grew up.

    Later she earned a degree in criminal justice from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania and spent two years with the Peace Corps in the former Soviet republic of Moldova. She recently worked as an investigator for an insurance company.

    Her mother, Corinne Van Meter, said her daughter had begun applying to graduate schools and wanted to study psychology.

    Van Meter was a sixth-grader in September 1993 when she flew from Augusta, Maine, to San Diego over five days. She had to fight strong headwinds and turbulence that bounced her single-engine Cessna 172 and made her sick.

    At the time, she was believed to be the youngest girl to fly across the United States. That record was broken by a 9-year-old in 1994.

    Also in 1994, Van Meter flew from Augusta to Glasgow, Scotland, and was credited with being the youngest girl to make a trans-Atlantic flight. She battled dizziness brought on by high altitude and declared upon landing: "I always thought it would be real hard, and it was."

    The child pilot phenomenon ended in 1996, when 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, her father and the instructor supervising the flight were killed in a crash in Wyoming while Jessica was trying to become the youngest person to fly across the country. Congress quickly passed a bill banning record-setting attempts by unlicensed pilots.

    "I was really rooting for her, but I guess reality says accidents do happen," Van Meter, then 14, said at the time of the crash. "It's unfortunate it had to happen to someone so brave, someone trying to fulfill her dreams."

    Corinne Van Meter said her daughter "led a full and interesting life. ... She had more guts than any of us could ever imagine."

    Van Meter's funeral will be held in Meadville, but arrangements have not been finalized.

    CNN - Spitzer escort's 'Girls Gone Wild' videos surface

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    Spitzer escort's 'Girls Gone Wild' videos surface

    Stop that $1 million check: It turns out the call girl linked to Eliot Spitzer had already shed her clothes for "Girls Gone Wild" as an 18-year-old while partying in Miami, Florida, the video company's founder said Tuesday.

    Joe Francis reached out to Ashley Alexandra Dupre, now 22, with an offer of $1 million to appear in a non-nude spread for his company's new magazine, plus a chance to join the "Girls Gone Wild" tour bus, his company announced Tuesday.

    But Francis said someone had a revelation at the Tuesday morning staff meeting: Did anyone think to check the archives?

    They did, he said -- and there she was.

    "It'll save me a million bucks," Francis said Tuesday. "It's kind of like finding a winning lottery ticket in the cushions of your couch."

    Francis said at that point, his offer was off the table: "We actually had been dealing with her rep," he said. "Our [offer] was the real deal. We just never made the connection."

    He said his employees got to work on pulling the footage and planned to offer it on the Web site by Tuesday evening, with a free sampling on the front page and the rest available with a $29.95 monthly subscription.

    Dupre's attorney, Don D. Buchwald, declined comment.

    According to a "Girls Gone Wild" press release, Dupre visited Miami in 2003 to celebrate her 18th birthday. After fighting with a friend and getting thrown out of her hotel, Dupre found a nearby "Girls Gone Wild" bus, the company said.

    She signed legal papers and spent a full week on the bus, filming seven full-length tapes that included nudity and same-sex encounters, according to the company.

    "I personally ended up buying her a Greyhound bus ticket back home to North Carolina," Francis said.

    Francis returned to California last week after being sentenced to time served and fines in Florida in a case involving filming underage girls. He still faces trial on federal tax evasion charges that carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

    Dupre's public profile has skyrocketed since Spitzer, the New York governor, announced his resignation last week amid the prostitution scandal. He was accused of spending tens of thousands of dollars on prostitutes, including a February tryst with a call girl named "Kristen," since identified as Dupre.

    Dupre's MySpace page was hit more than 5 million times in the days immediately after the scandal broke. Her musical efforts, including two songs posted at the music sharing site Aime Street, were listened to hundreds of thousands of times and played on national airwaves.

    Hustler publisher Larry Flynt told AP Friday that he e-mailed Dupre offering her $1 million to appear nude in his magazine, but didn't sound optimistic that she would settle for that amount. Flynt suggested that by the time Dupre starts talking, she may be too big a media phenomenon for a simple magazine spread.

    "She is no doubt going to do a book. There will probably be a movie," he said. "I think she is going to have so many offers coming in that it will probably be wishful thinking just to get in the door."

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